Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What is a Ragamuffin?

The only decent definition of a ragamuffin came from a guy named Brennan Manning. I first read Manning's book entitled "The Ragamuffin Gospel" about 10 years ago. It broke my heart into little pieces. It made me ashamed of my self-righteousness. After exposing me as a self-absorbed, hyper-spiritual religious bigot; it assured me that Jesus still loved me--faults and all; the same way He loves prostitutes and greedy Wall-Streeters, and homeless people who hear voices and talk to themselves as they shuffle along with their shopping carts and sleeping bags. I haven't been the same since I read this book...Thankfully! I've read and re-read this book; marked it up, gave it away, bought 7 more copies, and gave them away.  I gave this book to an agnostic friend who told me he cried like a baby at Brennan's description of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. He told me that this is the Jesus he always believed must have existed, but had lost hope because of the mean-ness of the church.  I gave it to a young girl who was shunned by her church and family because she didn't look or behave the way they expected. I wanted her to know that Jesus would never shun her like that.

  Brennan Manning went to heaven this week. I'm sure he was met by scores of ragamuffins, waving, doing happy dances, and giving him big high-fives. I wouldn't be surprised if that heavenly rabble was led by one of the biggest ragamuffins of all...Peter! If you have ever felt like a big fat failure, a hypocrite, or a loser, you'll love Brennan Manning.  

There is no eulogy that could adequately describe Brennan Manning. It's best just to read his words. Here's his forward to "The Ragamuffin Gospel."

  • "The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind.

  • This book is not for the super-spiritual.

  • It is not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne and not Jesus their hero.

  • It is not for academicians who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis.

  • It is not for noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion.

  • It is not for hooded mystics who want magic in their religion.

  • It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation.

  • It is not for the fearless and tearless.

  • It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the gospels; "All these commandments I have kept from my youth."

  • It is not for the complacent, hoisting over their shoulder a tote-bag of honors,  diplomas, and good works actually believing they have it made. (If you see a hyperlink here, don't push it. It's not mine but I can't make it go away!)

  • It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.

  • If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out.

  • It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other.

  • It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don't have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.

  • It is for the inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker.

  • It is for the poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents.

  • It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.

  • It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.

  • It is for smart people who know that they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags.

  • The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way."

Brennan Manning

Hey Brennan, if you can hear me up there...you made it man! Woo-hoo! Jesus carried you through, just like you said He would! Thanks for all your help. I'm still reading your book down here and shuffling along on feet of clay. I'm still a stupid scalawag who's crawling about on the kitchen floor; searching for the cheese that fell off my cracker. Thanks to you, I can admit that. I'll see you on the other side...


Elephant's Child said...

Even as a non believer Brennan Manning sounds to be an incredible man. Thank you for introducing him to me. I will have to hunt that book down.

Rebecca said...

I, too am a "stupid scalaway" holding onto Jesus - or rather He's holding on to me. I have read many of B. Manning's books, too - and once, long ago, had the chance to hear him in person!

I liked what Tullian tweeked about him this morning: "Sad to hear Brennan Manning died last night. His life is an example that no vertical condemnation does not mean no horizontal consequences."

Linda O'Connell said...

Sounds like a mighty good read, an eye and heart opener.

Bookie said...

Isn't it wonderful to meet a life changing book? I will put this on my list. I am working with study group now on Sabbath:Restoring Scared Rest and Rhythm, rereading Walking Labyrinths, and a novel by Ken Follet, and a novella by Joe Bunting...book table is full!


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